Argentina to approve more corn exports

Argentina’s government will approve the exportation of 15 million tonnes of 2012-13 corn, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, President Cristina Fernandez said on Monday.

Fernandez’s center-left government sets a ceiling on corn and wheat exports to guarantee affordable local food supplies and help tame high inflation.

It has eliminated an unpopular, incremental system for granting export quotas and now announces the bulk of export permits early in the season to create more competition among buyers and improve prices for farmers.

This change will be felt more fully in the 2012-13 crop year since last season’s exports were still being authorized in small increments.

Argentina is the world’s No. 2 corn supplier after the United States.

"We’re going to announce the approval of 15 million tonnes of corn exports for next season, meaning what is seeded starting in August," Fernandez said during a televised speech. "Plant corn, boys, because exports are on their way."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Argentina’s 2012-13 corn production at 25 million tonnes and the country’s exports at 16 million tonnes.

In late June, Argentine officials approved about three million tonnes more of 2011-12 corn exports as farmers neared the end of the harvest. Total export permits for that season amounted to 13.5 million tonnes.

— Reporting for Reuters by Hilary Burke and Alejandro Lifschitz

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